The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 22, 2020 1:00 am

Anti-abortion PAC endorses 16 area candidates

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

The Right to Life of Northeast Indiana Political Action Committee announced it has endorsed 16 Republican candidates in the June 2 primary election.

The PAC, which opposes abortion rights for women, said it is endorsing U.S. Rep. Jim Banks in the 3rd Congressional District; state Sen. Justin Busch in District 16; and state Reps. Daniel Leonard in District 50, Dennis Zent in District 51, Ben Smaltz in District 52, Matthew Lehman in District 79, Martin Carbaugh in District 81, David Abbott in District 82, Christopher Judy in District 83, Bob Morris in District 84 and Dave Heine in District 85.

The PAC endorsed five Allen County government candidates: District 1 Commissioner Nelson Peters, at-large Councilmen Kenneth Fries and Kyle Kerley, Treasurer William Royce and coroner candidate Jon Brandenberger.

Cathie Humbarger, communications director of the PAC, said in a statement that the endorsed candidates “have been steadfast in representing the pro-life values of our region.”

Four of the endorsed incumbents have opponents in the Republican primary. Banks is being challenged by Christopher Magiera, Busch by Tom Rhoades, Leonard by John Stoffel and Lehman by Taylor Isch.

Brandenberger is opposed by Joel Nagel for the open coroner's seat.

Incumbent at-large County Councilman Robert Armstrong was not endorsed by the PAC.

The PAC endorsed neither of the candidates – incumbent Jeff Sorg and challenger David Devine – in the race for the Republican nomination for county surveyor.

Humbarger said in an email that the Right to Life of Northeast Indiana PAC does not consider endorsements of candidates who fail to return the group's candidate survey.

She said neither Armstrong nor Sorg returned surveys.

Devine returned his survey after the deadline for doing so and after the PAC had met and determined its endorsements, Humbarger said. She said his answers will be included in the group's voter guide.

Bosma gives final motion to adjourn

Like a senior on their last day of high school, Rep. Brian Bosma took full advantage of his final days in the Indiana House recently.

He stepped down from his post as speaker and sat in the chairs among his colleagues – something he hadn't done in a decade. That's because the speaker presides over the chamber, rarely carrying bills and not even voting most of the time.

Bosma cast votes on all kinds of issues and even took to the microphone to “correct the record” on a charter school measure.

He also took time to heckle from his seat – reminding new Speaker Todd Huston to turn on the microphone or ask for a second on a motion. Once he even jeered why things were moving so slowly.

Bosma wasn't in the crucial last-minute meetings of leadership, so he often walked about the chamber chatting, telling jokes, sitting in other members' chairs.

He took dozens of pictures with current and former staffers.

He even had a few minutes to share stories with members of the media.

Altogether, Bosma was a lighter version of himself as he wrapped up 34 years of service.

And he got to give the last motion to adjourn sine die – with tears in his eyes.

Federal dependence

Indiana is the eighth most federally dependent state, according to a study by WalletHub.

The personal finance website said it compared states on three metrics: return on taxes paid to the federal government, federal funding as a share of state revenue and share of federal jobs.

Indiana ranks seventh for return on taxes, 10th for federal funding and 42nd for share of federal jobs.

WalletHub said the three most federally dependent states are, in order, New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia. The three least federally dependent states are, in order, Kansas, Utah and Delaware.

To reach Political Notebook, email Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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